Online games are easily available for download or to play through game consoles, computers and mobile devices. While games can be entertaining, you should be aware of the potential dangers to children.
Risks of online gaming
- Cyberbullying & online grooming
Multiplayer online games often include a chat feature which enables players to interact through text or voice chat while playing the game. This feature can be abused and lead to cyberbullying, grooming or sexual harassment.
- Gaming addiction
Online games are becoming more immersive and can lead to addiction. Players can spend hours on a game, affecting them psychologically and physically. Some effects include behavioral changes such as restlessness, becoming anti-social or violent.
- Identity fraud & phishing
Online profiles can be used to gather a person’s personal information for identity theft.
What can you do?
- Talk to your child about limiting their interactions with other players, and only chat about the game. Encourage your child to tell you if the conversation becomes personal, rude or makes them uncomfortable. You can usually report users who behave badly.
- Limit and schedule the time your child is allowed to play games. It’s also healthy for children to have other interests to fill their time. You should be aware of the location of gaming consoles, computers and mobile devices. Keep them where you can easily monitor and supervise your child’s activity.
- Teach your child not to post personal information online. If a game requires their personal details, try not to use real names and contact details. They should also avoid revealing personal information to other players.
Download the Parent’s Guide to Online Safety